Parenting under normal circumstances is already plenty of work, but with schools cancelled because of coronavirus, many parents are also scrambling to make sure their kids stay busy and keep up with their learning.
Leah’s friends Lesley Duffy, a homeschool mom of four, and Kristin Schmidt, a homeschool mom of three, offered some great tips for keeping your kids occupied and helping them learn outside of the classroom.
As you’re trying to juggle new routines and maybe even work from home yourself, Lesley encourages parents to remember that homeschooling can be flexible. It doesn’t need to last for seven hours a day, and you can fit it into your schedule however it works best for you and your kids.
1. Independence helps creativity
It’s also OK to let your kids do a lot of their work independently. Give them time to do art, it will help them develop their creativity. Reading, even if it’s just reading for fun, is also a great way to keep your kids busy and engaged.
Try to spend a little time helping them with projects they can’t work on by themselves, but also give them time to work on their own, and check in at the end of the day to see what they accomplished.
2. Utilize Technology
While you’re probably going to want to limit screen time while your kids are stuck at home, it’s OK to let them use technology as long as they are learning in the process.
For young kids, Lesley recommends ABC Mouse, an online tool that teaches reading, math, science, and art. For kids of all ages, she suggests using Epic, an app that allows kids to read or listen to audiobooks.
3. Use what you have
And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to learning in these unusual times. Kristin Schmidt (@kristinschmidt13) recommends using everyday items like coins or Legos to help teach math skills. Board games can also help with critical thinking and problem solving, while still keeping your kids entertained.
Even projects like baking, cooking and helping out with household chores will teach your kids important life skills, plus it keeps them busy and helps take some of the stress off of you.
4. No need to stress
Lesley also reminds parents that you don’t need to stress about school or worry that your kids will fall behind. The last few months of school are usually devoted to test prep or review, anyway. Plus, everyone is in the same boat right now with school cancellations.
The most important thing is to offer your kids (and yourself) as much love and support as you can. These are scary and confusing times for everyone, and we’re all figuring it out as we go along. Allow yourself grace and know that you will not mess them up and they will not be left behind during this time. We are all in it together.